Sudanese refugees are persons originating from the country of Sudan, but seeking refuge outside the borders of their native country. In recent history, Sudan has been the stage for prolonged conflicts and civil wars, as well as environmental changes, namely desertification. These forces have resulted not only in violence and famine, but also the forced migration of large numbers of the Sudanese population, both inside and outside the country’s borders. Given the expansive geographic territory of Sudan, and the regional and ethnic tensions and conflicts, much of the forced migration in Sudan has been internal. Yet, these populations are not immune from similar issues that typically accompany refugeedom, including economic hardship and providing themselves and their families with sustenance and basic needs. With the upcoming creation of a South Sudanese state, questions surrounding southern Sudanese IDPs may become questions of South Sudanese refugees.
Reasons for fleeing
The movement of populations within and around the territory of modern-day Sudan and its neighbors for trade, opportunity, climatic variations and conflicts is not unique to recent or contemporary history. But these movements have intensified and become more concentrated for because of prolonged civil war, violence between various populations along ethnic and political lines, droughts and subsequent famines in 1980s, and humanitarian emergencies and famine cause by improper response to previous crises by international aid organizations. Movements of people are also inherently more problematic across international boundaries, which may be contradictory to natural population flows within the region.
Internally displaced Sudanese
An estimated 3.2 million Sudanese are internally displaced persons (IDPs), and another 78,000 are in IDP-like situations. 300,000 of these IDPs were newly displaced in the first months of 2013 due to renewed intertribal conflict. Continuing insecurity, combined with government restrictions on humanitarian access in the Darfur region, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile States, has hampered UNHCR’s activities. Historically, refugee assistance programs in Sudan have relied on the definition of a refugee as one who has crossed an international frontier. This definition is increasingly inappropriate worldwide and especially so in Sudanic Africa, where the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) exceeds the number of refugees.